February 4, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 69  

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Tigers sign Rodriguez

Gazette File Photo
“AND THIS IS FOR DATING THAT GIRL FROM GLITTER.” Recent Detroit Tigers signee Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez tags out Mariah Carey’s former flame — Yankees shortstop and chief pretty boy Derek Jeter — while playing for the Texas Rangers during the 2002 season.

DETROIT (AP) — Ivan Rodriguez finalized his US$40-million, four-year contract with the Detroit Tigers on Monday, leaving the World Series champion Florida Marlins to join a team that last year set the American League record for losses.

Rodriguez, a 10-time all-star catcher and Most Valuable Player of the National League championship series, gets $7 million this year, $8 million in 2005 and $11 million each in 2006 and 2007, according to contract information obtained by The Associated Press. The Tigers have a $13-million option for 2008 with a $3-million buyout.

Detroit will defer $2 million of his salary in 2004 and $3 million each in 2006 and 2007, all at one per cent interest.

If Rodriguez goes on the disabled list for 35 or more days in 2004 or 2005 because of a lower spine injury, Detroit could void the rest of the contract by paying a $5-million buyout. If he goes on the DL for 35 or more days in 2006 because of a lower spine injury, the Tigers could terminate the deal by paying a $4-million buyout.

Rodriguez would get a $500,000 bonus if he’s voted the American League MVP, an award he won with Texas in 1999. If he wins the award twice under the contract, he would get $1 million the second time.

The signing of the 10-time Gold Glove winner is the latest high-profile move by the Tigers, who went 43-119 last season.

Detroit won five of its last six games to avoid tying the post-1900 major league record of 120 losses, set by the 1962 New York Mets.

The Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles also had expressed interest in Rodriguez. Rodriguez had a $10-million, one-year deal with the Marlins last season. He asked for a $40-million, four-year contract from Florida, which broke off talks Dec. 7.

The Tigers have been active in the free-agent market, but they had not signed an undisputed star such as Rodriguez.

Second baseman Fernando Vina and outfielder Rondell White agreed to $6-million, two-year deals in December, and starting pitcher Jason Johnson signed a $7-million, two-year contract later that month. The Tigers also traded for Seattle shortstop Carlos Guillen.



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